Spanish for "the gilded," El Dorado is an imaginary city or country that's full of gold. (Hundreds of years ago, the explorer Sir Walter Raleigh went looking for it in South America because he thought it was real. It wasn't.)
So now, more generally, an El Dorado is any (real or fake) place full of riches, or, an El Dorado is a (real or fake) amazing opportunity or way to get incredibly wealthy.
Several. I prefer "el duh ROD oh."
Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one El Dorado.
I guess you could also talk about multiple El Dorados, but I haven't seen the word pluralized.)
None, it seems.
Sometimes you'll see it written as one word: "Eldorado."
Yes, we say things like "an El Dorado" or "his El Dorado" even though these phrases literally mean "an the gilded" and "his the gilded." If these phrases bother you, just avoid using them.
How to use it:
Often, "El Dorado" has a mocking tone. If you say someone is looking for his El Dorado, searching for her El Dorado, relentlessly chasing their El Dorado and so on, you might mean they're being unrealistic and possibly very greedy.
But the word doesn't have to carry this critical meaning. You can use "El Dorado" with a positive tone, emphasizing someone's ambitions and hopes. You might seek your El Dorado, find your El Dorado, dream of your El Dorado, sense that you're getting close to your El Dorado and so on. Something might be your El Dorado or pose as your El Dorado.
You can also talk about the road to El Dorado, a path toward El Dorado, the entry point to El Dorado, etc., in reference to the work or events that (you hope) are leading you to a wonderful success or to a happy, wonderful place or situation.
She keeps signing up for "make money online" webinars and hasn't realized that they're a path to disappointment, not El Dorado.
Throughout high school, his El Dorado had always been Princeton University. But he wasn't accepted.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "El Dorado" means when you can explain it without saying "golden city" or "fabulous opportunity."
Think of something expensive or silly you wanted or dreamed of when you were younger, and fill in the blank: "Now I get it: _____ may not have been the glorious road to El Dorado that I thought it would be."
Example: "Now I get it: memorizing a set of encyclopedias and then competing on Jeopardy may not have been the glorious road to El Dorado that I thought it would be."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
In November, we played New Word Order, a card game that I recently created. It involves figuring out the order in which certain words and phrases entered our language. I'll give you several words and/or phrases, and you'll use your knowledge of history, slang, technology, popular culture, fashion, psychology, etc. to put them into chronological order. I'll post the right answer to each question on the following day. If you like this game, you can download and print it to play with your family and friends. (It's free.)
For the last three days of November, I used New Word Order cards to throw some very challenging tasks your way. These types of questions aren’t part of the official game instructions, but you can use your creativity to do whatever you want with the cards… and there are 500 of them, so have fun!
Yesterday's task: All of these words originated in a single year. Which one? (Kudos if you get just the decade correct.) App Biodiversity Dumpster-dive Japanimation Rollerblade
Answer: 1985. (If you knew it was the 80's, that's great, too!)
And now, a new game for December! We're sampling questions from Orijinz, an awesome series of games about the origins of words, phrases, and quotes. Click here if you want to check them out. They're compact--perfect for stockings. Just saying. :) Try a question here each day this month, and see the right answer the next day. Have fun!
"Guess the word!
Origin: A brilliant philosopher of the Middle Ages became the source of this word when, 200 years after his death, Renaissance scholars ridiculed his theories.
Definition: A person of low intelligence. Also the name of a cap you wouldn’t want to wear."
A Point Well Made:
Richard Feynman: “Einstein was a giant. His head was in the clouds, but his feet were on the ground. But those of us who are not that tall have to choose!”
1. One opposite of EL DORADO is
A. DREAM WORLD
2. _____ may not actually be the El Dorado you imagine.
A. The messy, expensive pet your kids are begging you for
B. The person you've always thought of as your enemy
C. That exotic city you've always dreamed of visiting
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
In addition to the figurative meaning of "El Dorado" that we're looking at today, it's also the name of a few real places, the title of more than one movie and television series, and the title of a poem that expresses both the hope and disappointment of looking for your El Dorado.
Other terms we've explored with similar cultural ubiquity include waterloo and Xanadu. Could you recall where these words came from, along with the general, figurative way to use them?
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